Pre College Academy

Pre-College Online Courses

ENGL 101P:  Flash Fiction/Prose Poetry: A Reading and Writing Workshop

Martine Bellen, author and visiting lecturer in Graduate Liberal Studies

Image of Martine Bellen
Martine Bellen

Though flash fiction (short short stories) and prose poetry have been known to rub elbows from time to time, readers of flash fiction will tend to discuss texts in terms of character, plot, conflict, while readers of prose poetry will deliberate about sound devices, figurative language, and rhythm. In this workshop, close readings of these two genres will be conducted, investigating, side by side, how they work as a means to explore fresh avenues of entry into fiction and poetry, using the other as a springboard to more deeply navigate each genre.

In the reading component of the workshop, we will learn how ordinary prose can be heightened to create extraordinary word environments for both fiction and poetry and in the creative writing component, we will apply to our writing the techniques identified in discussions about texts. All participants will be expected to write both flash fiction and prose poetry and to workshop both genres.

Assignments include writing prompts, peer critiques, and discussion board writing.

This course will run asynchronously from September 30 through November 22, with students completing weekly assignments on their own schedule.  Students should expect to spend approximately 5 - 8 hours per week on this course.

To maintain the small workshop experience, enrollment is limited to a maximum of 15 students.

Click here to view the Course Syllabus.

Martine Bellen (MFA, Brown University) is the author of nine books, including WABAC MACHINE (Furniture Press Books); GHOSTS! (Spuyten Duyvil); THE VULNERABILITY OF ORDER (Copper Canyon Press); and TALES OF MURASAKI AND OTHER POEMS (Sun & Moon Press), which won the National Poetry Series; and the novella 2X(SQUARED). A bilingual collection of her poetry has been published in Germany by Verlag im Waldgut (translator, Hans Jürgen Balmes). She has written the libretto for OVIDIANA, an opera based on Ovid’s METAMORPHOSES (composer, Matthew Greenbaum) and has collaborated with David Rosenboom on AH! OPERA NO-OPERA, which had its world premiere at REDCAT in L.A (for more information, visit

Ms. Bellen’s poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, including SAINTS OF HYSTERIA: A HALF CENTURY OF COLLABORATIVE POETRY (Soft Skull Press), THE CONVERGENCE OF BIRDS: WRITING INSPIRED BY JOSEPH CORNELL (DAP) and THIS ART (Copper Canyon Press). She has been a recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, the Fund for Poetry grant, and the American Academy of Poets Award. Bellen is a contributing editor of the literary journal CONJUNCTIONS and has worked as an editor at Henry Holt and Company and Carroll & Graf Publishers. Since 2001, she has been an independent book editor. Bellen has taught in numerous colleges and universities, including Wesleyan University, the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, the New School, and the Evergreen State College. For more about her, please visit